" Disputes often involve fractured relationships. Sometimes quite inconsequential differences can become much greater because of the breakdown in communication and respect between the parties. As a lawyer I've seen the adversarial system turn disputes into conflicts and ruin the relationships of those involved permanently. Mediation does exactly the opposite by de-escalating the dispute into a negotiation rather than escalating it into a war. As a process Mediation encourages mutual respect and provides a basis for people to interact in the future in a useful, civilised way. I'm not claiming that Mediation suddenly makes everybody friends again, but I've seen it happen!"
At the heart of everything the MII does is the belief that conflict and confrontation, pitching people against each other in an adversarial contest, is not the appropriate way to resolve disputes. This outdated and ill-advised process deepens divisions and widens the gulf between people. Whether disputants are already known to each other or are relative or complete strangers conflict creates antipathy, dislike and resentment. Adversarial procedures and imposed outcomes can deepen these resentments and destroy any chance for future cooperation.
Disputes often arise when people are closely connected. Whether its a family connection, a friendship gone wrong or a dispute between colleagues, the fact that people have been connected for some time prior to the dispute can increase antagonism and entrench positions. Escalating the dispute into a conflict, legal or otherwise reduces the chance of ever making these relationships work in the future. If you live with, work with or have a family connection to a person you have a dispute with the way you resolve that dispute will determine the future of that relationship.
Even in disputes that involve less personal relationships, such as commercial disputes, even when the parties have never met, the human capacity to foster resentment and enmity once an area of dispute is established is limitless. Mediation brings people to the table, personalises their positions for each other to understand and encourages them to work together to resolve their differences.
Mediation brings the parties into a process where they effectively take a 'time-out' in their conflict. It requires an open mind and a willingness to listen and consider the other participant's position. This creates what we see as the 'mediation relationship' - the relationship which is formed between the participants for the duration of the mediation until the dispute is resolved. We have seen this relationship formed between disputants time and time again, even when at the outset they couldn't bear to be in the same room. Ultimately given the right guidance in the Mediation context parties have been able to work together to solve their issues. The mediation relationship is formed by:
The Mediator's invitation to enter the process with an open mind.
The willingness of the parties to listen and be listened to.
The requirement that the Mediation is conducted with respect and civility.
The contextual and atmospheric de-escalation from conflict to conciliation.
The principle that the parties are working together whether directly of indirectly to find a resolution.
Mediation creates useful working relationships to resolve disputes. It avoids deepening divisions through conflict. It brings people together through conciliation. We've seen it happen over and over again - people learning how to work together to resolve their differences. We are proud of the fact that mediation fosters and promotes cooperation and mends fractured relations.
The MII accredits mediation training courses which meet set training standards.
The purpose of CPD is to ensure that Mediators keep their knowledge and skills up to date for the benefit of users of their service and for their own personal and professional development.